5 Reasons Why Type One Diabetes is on the Rise
A 2009 study inThe Lancet found that new cases of type 1 diabetes in kids could double in the next 10 years. Possible reasons for this dramatic rise include:
- Too big too fast. The "accelerator hypothesis" theorizes that children who are bigger and grow more quickly are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.
- Too little sun. The "sunshine hypothesis" comes from data showing that countries situated closer to the equator have lower rates of type 1 diabetes.
- Too clean. The "hygiene hypothesis" is the notion that cleanliness -- lack of exposure to certain germs and parasites -- may increase susceptibility to diseases like diabetes.
- Too much pasteurized cow's milk. The "cow's milk hypothesis" states that exposing babies to infant formula containing cow's milk in the first six months of life damages their immune systems, and can trigger autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
- Too much pollution. The "POP hypothesis" alleges that being exposed to pollutants increases diabetes risk.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, which is caused by insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling due to inappropriate diet and lack of exercise, people with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin and must therefore inject insulin several times a day if they are to remain alive.
Tragically those with type 1 diabetes can have the healthiest lifestyle possible yet still suffer many diseases, as current technology is a poor substitute for a fully functioning pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes is actually an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system destroys pancreatic cells that produce insulin. The disease tends to progress rather quickly and therefore needs to be diagnosed early, as it can result in serious long-term complications including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.
While type 1 diabetes is far less common than type 2, accounting for only 5-10 percent of people with diabetes, it is steadily on the rise. Rates of type 1 diabetes in children under 5 are expected to double between 2005 and 2020, and cases among children younger than 15 are expected to rise by 70 percent during this time, a Lancet study showed.
What is fueling this rise is the question on everyone’s mind, and the research is pointing to one very prominent, and easily fixable, problem: vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D May Prevent Type 1 Diabetes
It has been known for some time that type one diabetes is virtually unheard of the closer one gets to the equator. This spurred research which suggested that if a pregnant woman has optimal vitamin D levels during her pregnancy she should radically reduce if not virtually eliminate the child’s risk of getting type 1 diabetes!
Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in nearly every type of human cell, from your bones to your brain, and also your pancreas.
According to Dr. Michael Holick, who is one of the leading vitamin D researchers in the world, children receiving vitamin D supplementation from age 1 on had an 80 percent decreased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.